Today I am going to attempt to untangle the knots in the part of my head that’s been contemplating my current life stage: the one where you’re just getting out of college. Not knowing where to go or what to do after right now. Many people have faced this and many more will continue to in the future, but here’s just my take on it so that maybe we can find some comfort and all share this human experience.
School is all I’ve known since I can remember remembering things. It’s what we grow up with in America and many other countries and are forced to endure. When you think about the logistics, you create this program where you take children away from whatever home life they happen to have, sit them in desks, tell them to not talk and to instead listen and sit still and do what they’re told, so that they can focus and learn how to do equations and what the different particles of speech are. I suppose any advanced society has a method of education, but I seem many flaws in our current one. The plain fact that socializing is discouraged within a classroom is wrong. Is one of the universal goals of humanity not to find another to share in life’s burdens? Companionship and all that. To replace valuable networking, vital even at a young age, and replace it with learning things out of a book?? How many of the skills and practices do we learn in a classroom that are not beneficial in any way outside of the walls of a school? I’m all for alternative methods of teaching your children than putting them into the public schooling system where they learn to do what they’re told. A more hands on approach. Maybe get involved in the growth of your offspring and create the most capable mini person you can, able to enjoy their lives and think for themselves and live in general happiness? No shame to those avid teachers who put their all into raising intelligent minds in the best way they can within the current system…
But I digress. So you go to school, you do the assignments and take the tests and hopefully learn something, if not at least about who you are and what holds some value to you in this life. Then you’re expected in most cases to go to some higher education. And there are many takes on college and no college and such, but in my case I decided to go for a little bit of college basically for something to do. You tend to just go to school if you don’t know what you’re doing or aren’t capable enough to do much of anything. So I went.
Community college. That’s what I’ve experienced so far. Small town community college. I’ve toured other campuses and seen the portrayal of a wide variety of “the college experience”, but where I’m at in college right now is enduring the lack of motivation present at this sleepy excuse of an educational institution. I mean, the cafeteria is run down and governed by a crotchety old man pursuing a profit from unfortunate souls that find there way into this corner, or hole I should say, of the world. And isn’t even open every day, as the only food source on campus. So no coffee for you. The teachers come to class at least 5 minutes late and usually haven’t thought about or prepared what they’re going to teach until they’re standing in the front of the room. The parking lot somehow tends to never have enough parking for all the students. The internet doesn’t work half the time. I don’t even know how to address the “Student Lounge”. More like a basement with a discarded old pool table and some old furniture along the walls where the trolls dwell. Neglect permeates every inch of this place. It’s a mess.
And so I go here to this college in my hometown, which is basically a continuation of high school for me, and find very little inspiration or intrigue. The thing that’s supposed to happen is that on your way to doing something, you find your love for something else. You’re going to school for Biology (as per my case) and you fall in love with genetics or cosmetics or art appreciation or some shit like that. But the fact is, while I’ve been exposed to more than in high school, I’ve learned very little. About the subjects I’m studying, about myself. The new subjects I’ve been introduced to are typically uninteresting. Art was good, but it was Drawing I, learn how to draw using linear perspective and shading and the like. I’ve learned mostly from the life events happening outside of college, such as moving a thousand times and flitting through various relationships. So I’ve dabbled in college here, and haven’t really left where I grew up yet, and I’m getting ready to. To discover what’s out there. Big bright horizon of opportunity and such.
This is terrifying. Now I have lived away from here before, in Washington state in a one bedroom with 8 people for a year of high school. I’ve been moving ceaselessly for over two years now, never remaining in one place for long. Sometimes months, sometimes almost a year – but I’ve been moving a lot, and it’s very unsettling. I have little foundation I suppose. Now the time I’ve had to wander aimlessly around this county while I have some excuse to tell to people when they ask what I’m doing with my life, is ending. As exciting it will be to leave behind this small, static town – I don’t belong anywhere. I have no legacy to follow, no direction, no reason to be anywhere. So I can go along for the ride with a group of friends and move elsewhere to find whatever will occupy my time, and just settle for what I get. And when you have no specific direction you want to find yourself in, you just get swept away into whatever…
As illustration of this, I turn now to my obsession with the Lord of the Rings for life advice:
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, stepping out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to” – J. R. R. Tolkien.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” – Lewis Carroll
If you have no goals basically, you’ll go nowhere. It’s an easy place to find, and many people are there now. Have I really gotten to the point where I have no ambition? This is appalling to think about, noting my strict religious upbringing. To become some kind of low-life, job-less, dependent, lazy oaf… But am I just seeing it that way? Have I just been disillusioned to the pathway towards success I was previously taught? Am I discovering a new way to live, independent of the “American dream”, or whatever was spurring me onward to get those nearly perfect grades all those years? In any way, I’m losing the insight to success I saw a couple years ago. I’ve been rejecting the old outdated system for a while now. I choose to take the red pill and escape the lie of living in the Matrix. I’ll continue down this rabbit hole until it leads somewhere. It has to come to a conclusion. The point of all this thinking and contemplating my existence is to come to an answer eventually…
So I suppose currently I have no purpose. That’s why this state of my life is so perplexing and exciting and terrifying. I have a chance to leave everything behind, the family I’m living with now, my relationships, my current life situation that I have some handle over and some insight into the future course of… I’ve been given a chance to pretty much start over. My uncle in Washington wants to give me an opportunity and extend his home to me, so I can be exposed to more opportunity than I am now basically. Which is a very honorable thing to do for me, as I hardly know him. I can live in his basement, find a job, wait for the admission cycle to come around for some college up there, and find a niche there, or possibly not, and leave for somewhere else, and move on with my life.
This possibility is beyond inviting to me. I have a tendency to take an idea and get really into it and take it on very quickly. I nearly always take opportunities that are presented to me, and go by the “will I regret not doing this later on down the road” thought process. So, with the appeal of starting over and discovering something completely beyond my current life situation, going all the way outside of my comfort zone, I’m feeling quite adventurous.
And quite unstable. It’s a big jump. I’m currently going no where, and this looks like a chance to do something. Unorthodox somewhat. Going to live in a basement. In Washington. With my step dad’s brother. Not something you plan for or can foresee. But what about my life has been normal or predictable so far…?
Now it’s back to reality for me. Back to the daily challenges I have to face, as these life changing decisions are not to be made for a couple months now, and life must go on. I must go back to dealing with my life, and what I can control within in. Back to facing today.